Tebogo Msimanga |
The Police in North West arrested 35 suspects for attempted murder, causing an explosion, malicious damage to property and conspiracy to commit crime. The suspects were arrested on Wednesday at a shaft ventilation in Orkney .
North West Police spokesperson Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone said the arrests came after a group of approximately 300 illegal miners commonly known as “Zama zamas” attacked and shot at the security officers and later the police, in an attempt to forcefully provide food to their fellow illegal miners who were underground.
“The shooting incidents that unfolded at about 18:30 led to the deaths of illegal miners. Four bodies were found in the vicinity of the shaft, one was found approximately 800 metres from the crime scene while the sixth one was found in the bushes near Kanana Location. Several food parcels and two firearms were found at the crime scene.”
Mokgwabone added that the arrests and shooting incidents came after a decision by the mine management to clamp down on illegal mining activities by closing the ventilation shaft which the “zama zamas” had been using to enter and exit various shafts.
The arrested suspects are expected to appear in court soon. Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) took over the investigation.
The Provincial Commissioner of North West, Lieutenant General Sello Kwena condemned the carelessness of the alleged illegal miners and indicated that no amount of force will deter law enforcement to do their work.